30 July 2011

A Nuclear Power Plant for Nigeria? What a Wonderful World . . .

Nigeria's Federal Government is set to sign an agreement with the Russian Federation for the building of Nigeria's first nuclear power plant. Nigeria is an oil-rich African nation which is looking to diversify its sources of energy and electrical power. Nigeria has been seeking help from Russia for some time in this regard, and Nigeria's leaders are somewhat unhappy with Russia's slow response to their requests.
Modern nuclear power plants are quite safe when properly designed, built, and operated. In Japan's recent deadly natural disaster, well over 20,000 Japanese people lost their lives from a massive earthquake and tsunami, but none died as a result of a serious nuclear power plant shutdown and partial core meltdown. When such rare and unexpected events occur, the right people to cope with the situation must be on hand.
The chart on top shows the IQ distribution curves for four fuzzily defined racial groups: Asian, White, Hispanic, and Black. These curves are approximations based upon the best scientific evidence available. The second chart above shows a global IQ map by nation, again using the best available scientific evidence to produce the chart. In both charts it is clear that blacks and Africans lag behind all other "races" and nations tested. Why is this important in regard to a nuclear power plant in Nigeria? Look at the chart below:
This chart describes the IQ requirements for different types of professions, occupations, and vocations. If a population's IQ mean and IQ distribution curve provides an inadequate number of persons bright enough to become qualified engineers, technicians, scientists, etc, that population on its own will find it very difficult to maintain a high technology infrastructure. In terms of nuclear power plants, the personnel requirements are particularly critical in the cases where things go wrong.

It has been argued that Africans score poorly on IQ test for reasons having nothing to do with underlying intelligence. It is very important to test this hypothesis using the very best scientific tools available. If black and African populations have been judged unfairly in this regard, it is of utmost importance that this injustice be corrected.

Unfortunately, modern politically correct culture only wants to sweep the issue under the rug, and deny its importance entirely -- without performing the proper scientific experiments. That would be most unwise in this age of rapid scientific and technological progress -- when the mishandling of modern technologies could lead to tens or hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths, and other lingering problems.

This series of blog postings from "Race, Genes, and Disparity," discusses a way in which this uncertainty could be settled fairly and scientifically. Objective criteria for testing should be devised and implemented, so that modern societies can face important issues with the information that they need.

The enhancing of human intelligence is becoming a critically important issue for all societies. Nigeria has recently made the cognitive enhancer Vinpocetine available to Nigerians in an effort to bring the "national IQ" up to global standards. Other, more effective methods of increasing IQ are likely to come along in the near future. Even if western nations do not approve such therapies for use by normal persons, it is likely that nations of the third world and emerging world (BRICS etc) will have no such qualms about their use.

Whether the Russians build a nuclear power plant for Nigeria, is up to the Russians and the Nigerians. One might ask whether the Nigerian government will be willing to pay Russian engineers, technicians, electricians, welders, turbine specialists, etc to maintain the power plant indefinitely? If not, who will be minding the nuclear power plant?

The same issue is likely to emerge in other African nations, attempting agreements with Russia, China, India, etc. for the building of advanced technologies which require elite scientific and technological oversight. If the African nation is willing and able to pay for the technology, what business is it to outsiders -- as long as the technology being sold is not nuclear technology or other technology of mass death?

Africa is littered with crumbling and rusting technological projects built by colonial powers and outside interests. They are rusting and crumbling because they were not maintained. The neglect of proper maintenance is typical of the third world environment, and besides suggesting a low cognitive complement, the phenomena of widespread neglect also suggests a low executive function (EF) complement. Low IQ and Low EF: Not a promising combination for the wise development of potentially deadly technologies. Think about it.

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Blogger Bruce Hall said...

Odd how the high IQ combination of eastern Asians and Europeans that comprise the "Hispanic" gene pools [except for black slaves], should produce a low IQ gene pool, eh?

Saturday, 30 July, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Bruce: It is not actually that odd, if you understand a bit of population genetics.

Even assuming that the ancestors of today's living native Central Americans were the same persons as the ancestors of today's high IQ East Asians, tens of thousands of years worked their evolutionary magic on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, leading to quite different genomic patterns between modern native Americans and modern East Asians.

We are slowly learning about the combinations of genes which impact intelligence. That is bad news for the politically correct set, who would like to dictate their PC dogma without the interference of pesky falsifiable science.

Saturday, 30 July, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

More: What you should be emphasising is that "Hispanic" is more properly a linguistic category than a genetic one. The curve displayed is fairly close to what one might see with most Central American populations -- which are the groups which supply most illegal immigrants to the US.

Statistical summaries are not meant to describe individual members of groups which are summarised. They are only general statements about samples from population groups. A lot of assumptions are made with regard to representativeness of samples, validity of tests, integrity of data, etc etc.

It is important to enlarge on the studies which have been done, and to do them better. Instead, what we have in academia, politics, and journalism are swarms of politically correct drones who do not want the issue to be studied at all.

That is a dangerous policy when so many expensive and detrimental public policies are based upon assumptions which are apparently not true.

Saturday, 30 July, 2011  
Blogger Average Joe said...


Many Hispanics have African ancestry. Also the smartest Asians tend to come from China, Korea and Japan while Native Americans are mostly descended from Siberians.

Saturday, 30 July, 2011  
Blogger kurt9 said...

I'm more open-minded about the Africans getting nuclear power technology and the like. I'm not convinced that IQ tests are the end-all metric of cognitive ability. First, the verbal part of the IQ test really measures learned knowledge. To a lesser extent, this is true of the mathematical part as well. The only part of an IQ test than can definitively be said to measure innate cognitive ability is the pattern recognition and the like. This makes up less than half of a typical IQ test.

Secondly, IQ tests measure what academic weenies think is important. They do not measure things like shrewdness and other characteristics that also correlate with productive success.

Thirdly, much is made of the so-called Flynn effect. Many explanations are offered for this. But the one that is most likely to be significant is improved nutrition. Most of the developing world has improved nutrition. But Africa does not. This suggests to me that much of the rest of the "southern" world has experienced the improvement in cognitive ability due to the Flynn effect. African has yet to do so.

Lastly, it is true that much of Africa is in deplorable condition, and that much has been said about this. However, many of the deplorable comments that people say about Africa today were said about East Asian people (Chinese) 50 years ago by the English administrators of Hong Kong.

The HBD people may be correct about African people and their prospects. However, I think it is still too soon to say this for certain.

Saturday, 30 July, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Kurt: You would gain a great deal if you phrased your argument in falsifiable terms, as scientists must do. In other words, when you make an assertion, you should also present a way to test that assertion.

Otherwise, you may become like too many commenters on the web who only provide the most superficial aspect of their opinions, which are is the tip of the iceberg of their reasoning -- and probably not the most important part.

Perhaps you have been to Africa and have studied African youth, and the science of cognitive testing in a comprehensive way. But if so, you need to tell us that up front as part of your argument.

Opinions are considered content-free, in general, when not accompanied by supporting evidence and background information.

Sunday, 31 July, 2011  
Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

If a guy takes steroids, he can bulk up. Can some sort of steroid for brain-power be developed?

Tuesday, 02 August, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Benjamin: Theoretically, yes. The most effective way to build a smarter brain would involve genetic modification techniques.

In more intelligent people, certain parts of the brain are larger than they are in less intelligent people. Likewise, certain brain inter-connections for more intelligent people tend to work faster than in less intelligent people.

Both of those factors would be at least partially under genetic control.

We have a lot to learn about the combinations of genes and gene regulatory machinery, which may lead to greater intelligence. Different environments can significantly modify gene expression as well.

And since high intelligence is best accompanied by high executive function, physical health, and emotional balance, other genetic and environmental factors must be considered.

Tuesday, 02 August, 2011  
Blogger Gnuclear said...

I think it's important to understand what an average IQ actually means: It's simply the total IQ divided by the total number of people in the sample group. A calculated outline.
It does not show how much diversity is present in said group. This would have to be looked at separately.

It's perhaps true that the average IQ of Nigerians is low. But that doesn't exclude the possibility that there are enough higher IQ Nigerians who could properly maintain a nuclear reactor.

As a side note though, there is also the possibility of using a type of "inherently safe" nuclear reactor instead of the standard watercooled uranium reactors.

An "inherently safe" reactor is one that is designed in such a way that a loss of active cooling does not cause the reactor to meltdown; Rather, it naturally shuts down by itself.

Some promising types of reactors include:
• Fast Breeder reactor (which can also consume almost all the uranium left over from standard Light Water Uranium reactors)
• Molten Salt reactor using liquid Fluoride
• Pebble Bed reactor (China is trying to develop these)

And there's also the possibility of using Thorium as a nuclear fuel instead of Uranium.

Friday, 30 November, 2012  

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